Every year it seems, someone comes out with a list of the best Christmas songs of all time. But what about the songs that don’t make that list — the songs that have been forgotten over the years, and some for no good reason at all?
We’ve put together a list of 25 Christmas songs you may have never heard, and if you have, you’ve probably forgotten all about them. So, if you’re sick of the same old songs every holiday, these tunes may be worth adding to your playlist.
1. “Christmas Blues” by Canned Heat
This classic blues tune was really popular when it was released back in 1968, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart. We’re not sure why it fell out of favor over the years, but suspect it may have something to do with the band’s later collaboration with The Chipmunks.
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2. “Christmas Night in Harlem” by Louis Armstrong
The classic big-band sounds and Armstrong’s signature vocals and trumpeting are just as fresh today as when he recorded it back in 1955.
3. “Monster’s Holiday” by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
Fans of the novelty pop song “Monster Mash” may recall that Bobby Pickett also wrote this holiday song with a similar vibe. It charted in 1962 but never became a holiday classic.
4. “All I Really Want for Christmas” by Steven Curtis Chapman
Chances are if you don’t listen to Christian radio you’ve probably never heard Chapman’s song about an orphan’s plaintive plea for a family at Christmas. The song hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Christian songs chart back in 2006.
5. “Barefoot Santa Claus” by Sonny James
Santa had to give away his boots in this 1968 novelty Christmas song featuring a chorus of sing-shouting children. James, a member of The Southern Gentlemen, had a hit with the song, which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s Christmas Singles chart.
6. “Angels Among Us” by Alabama
This country and Southern rock band’s song wasn’t officially released as a single but it still managed to reach No. 51 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles & Tracks back in 1993 through lots of unsolicited holiday play.
7. “Another Lonely Christmas” by Prince
Prince and the Revolution released this song as the B-side of their 1984 single “I Would Die 4 U.” It peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s Christmas Singles chart but never really made it into the canon of holiday music played in heavy rotation on radio stations.
Here’s a live recording from 1984 in which Prince says the band has never played the song before.
8. “Back Door Santa” by Clarence Carter
Fans of Run-D.M.C. may recognize some of the horn lines from this 1968 tune. They were sampled for the band’s mid-’80s holiday hit “Christmas in Hollis.” But if you need a little funk infusion for your holidays, you can’t miss when you spin Carter’s ditty about keeping the ladies happy.
9. “All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan” by Kenny Chesney
Country music fans will surely have heard crooner Kenny Chesney’s ode to tropical holidays. The 2003 song peaked at No. 30 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
If you’ve never heard it, you can check it out here.
10. “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle” by Bobby Vinton
Bobby Vinton wasn’t the only person to record this song written by Burt Bacharach and Larry Kusik, but he was the only person to chart with it, reaching No. 23 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart back in 1964.
11. “Blue Winter” by Connie Francis
Connie Francis had a lot of catchy hit tunes with staying power, but this Christmas concoction is not among them. Sure, “Blue Winter” charted, peaking at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and at No. 7 on the Billboard Middle-Road Singles chart in 1964. But over the years it’s taken a backseat to other blue holiday songs, most notably Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” which, has a very similar tune to the opening lines of “Blue Winter.”
12. “I Farted on Santa’s Lap” by The Little Stinkers
Sung entirely by children and filled with fart jokes, “I Farted on Santa’s Lap” is a classic for everyone’s internal 12-year-old boy. While the song is a real gas, it took some time to catch on. The record company dealt it in 1998, but nobody smelled it until 2002, when it charted briefly on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 Singles Sales.
13. “All Alone on Christmas” by Darlene Love
Fans of holiday-related movies “Love Actually” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” may balk at this song being on this list, but when it comes to airplay, Darlene Love’s ditty hasn’t seen much spin since it peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart back in 1993.
Watch Darlene Love’s official video for “All Alone on Christmas,” featuring songwriter Steven Van Zandt, Clarence Clemons and other members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
14. “Cherry Cherry Christmas” by Neil Diamond
An obvious nod to his hit song, “Cherry, Cherry” from four decades earlier, this 2009 holiday single is pretty Cheesy, Cheesy. Still, it had its fans, peaking at No. 4 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart. It was the first single released from Diamond’s third holiday album by the same name.
15. “Christmas Alphabet” by the McGuire Sisters
Lovely harmonies couldn’t save this soothing Christmas tune from falling into virtual obscurity over the years. When it was released in 1954, it charted, but fell out of favor over the years as catchier tunes took over the airwaves.
16. “Christmas at Ground Zero” by Weird Al Yankovic
Weird Al’s dark-but-catchy holiday tune was in constant rotation on MTV around the holidays back in the mid-1980s, but it’s since been lost in the depths of the novelty holiday song bin.
Part of that is due to most people today thinking of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York when they hear the term “ground zero.” Yankovic is reported to have said “I can’t really play the song live anymore because too many people misunderstand the connotations of Ground Zero. It’s not a reference to 9/11, obviously. It was written in 1987 when ‘ground zero’ just meant the epicenter of a nuclear attack.”
If you yearn for the good old days of the cold-war era — with some nasal vocals thrown in for good measure — you’ll definitely want to slip this toe tapper into your holiday playlist this year.
17. “Daddy’s Drinking Up Our Christmas” by Commander Cody
If you love yourself some good ol’ Texas Swing replete with steel guitar and lyrics about car wrecks, arrests, poverty and alcoholism, this is an absolute must listen. It may not be uplifting, but it’s got a beat you can two-step — or swill a tall boy — to.
18. “Candy Cane Children” by The White Stripes
You wouldn’t necessarily expect an artist like Jack White to put out a Christmas tune, but he did. In fact, “Candy Cane Children” was part of a whole holiday-themed compilation called Surprise Package Volume 2. The title of the song is a reference to White Stripes fans who are called “Candy Cane Children.”
19. “Merry Twist-Mas” by The Marcels
It’s understandable how this song, written to take advantage of the dance craze The Twist has fallen out of favor for holiday playlists. After all, The Twist hasn’t been seen en mass on American dance floors since the early 1960s.
The Marcels released this song in 1961 and, while it hasn’t really held up, if you like doo-wop, you may get a kick out of it.
20. “Let’s Make Christmas Merry, Baby” by Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chicken-Shackers
This classic blues song became a hit when it was released in 1949, charting on both Billboard magazine’s R&B Best Seller and Juke Box singles charts.
21. “I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas” by Betty Johnson
Back in 1954, actor Eddie Fisher (the late actress Carrie Fisher’s father) was wildly popular. In fact, it was Johnson’s biggest hit. The song peaked at No. 22 on the Music Vendor chart that year, and was also covered by Spike Jones & His City Slickers, known for their spoof arrangements of popular songs.
22. “I’ll Make Every Day Christmas (For My Woman)” by Joe Tex
In the mid-1960s, Southern soul singer Joe Tex was the biggest R&B act around. This Christmas song released in 1967 peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Christmas charts.
23. “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” by Yogi Yorgesson with the Johnny Duffy Trio
Comedian Harry Stewart wrote and recorded this pieceas his character, Yogi Yorgesson, a Swedish American with a very heavy accent. Released in 1949, this novelty song peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s “Best Seller” and “Most Played By Jockeys” chart.
24. “Kissin’ By the Mistletoe” by Aretha Franklin
This song from the Queen of Soul was released in 1961, but didn’t hit the charts until 1963 when it appeared in the “Music Vendor” Christmas chart. Why this song isn’t on heavy rotation on Christmas playlists even today makes no sense. It’s a classic.
25. “Love for Christmas” by Felix Gross
Another classic blues song sadly lost in the shuffle of newer, lesser Christmas tunes. Featuring Tiny Webb on guitar and Joe Howard on tenor sax, “Love for Christmas” reached No. 9 on the Hot R&B Singles chart when it was released in 1949.
Experiencing more music nostalgic? Check out our roundup of ‘offensive’ songs you won’t believe were banned from the radio.
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